New Delhi/Auckland, Sept 21 (IANS): With just two days to go for the athletes to arrive for the Commonwealth Games in the Indian capital, the Organising Committee finds itself in fresh trouble as Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fennell said parts of the Village are still not fit for accommodation.
Fennell asked the Organising Committee to take "quick action" in the next 24 hours to set things right before the athletes start arriving Thursday.
Fennell, who had raised concerns about the Village during his visit last month, has written a letter to Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekar, the government's top pointsperson for the Games preparations, to address the concerns.
"I am expecting some serious action in the next 24 hours. We have been waiting for the Village to be ready before the athletes arrive but we have not seen any action so far," Fennell said today. "I raised the matter with authorities. The Village residential zone needs a lot of attention. It needs to be fixed urgently. The athletes come first. Many nations that have already sent their advanced parties to set up within the village made it abundantly clear that, as of the afternoon of September 20, the Commonwealth Games village is seriously compromised.
"The condition of the residential zone has shocked the majority of Commonwealth Games Associations that are in Delhi," the Jamaican official said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand team's chef de mission Dave Currie, who has been camping here for a week, warned the Games could be called off.
"That's not a decision that we'll make (alone) but there are some realities. If the village is not ready and athletes can't come, obviously the implications of that are that it's (the Games) not going to happen," he was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald newspaper.
"I think they (Commonwealth Games Federation) are in severe difficulties. In the time frame that is left, unless there is tremendous effort and energy and problem-solving ability to get it done, I think it's going to be extremely hard to get across the line.
"They've got a little bit of time but it's kind of two seconds to midnight really."
Currie has accepted an offer from the Games Organising Committee to shift from their allocated accommodation - which he described as "substandard" - to another tower in the village premises.
Mike Hooper, CGF chief executive, said he was disappointed over the state of cleanliness at the Games Village and called the conditions there "filthy."
"We have emphasised the importance of addressing the issue of cleanliness," said the New Zealander, who has been here for two years to oversee the preparations.
"We are disappointed to find ourselves in this situation with just two days to go (for athletes to start arriving."
Hooper, who was singing paens of the Games Village Sep 16 when the media was taken to see the facilities, said he stood by his appreciation of the international zone, including the main dining hall, at the Village complex. But cleanliness, he said, is a different issue.
Hooper said the CGF was given promises that everything would be set right by Sunday. "There was some progress, certainly insufficient to satisfy the majority."
"All the issues must be addressed by the Organising Committee. Hopefully we will see some significant action. We saw cleanliness in the Village only on Sep 16.
"I am disappointed with the Games Village. The towers for the athletes are filthy and unliveable. We were promised things that were not adhered to. The teams have not moved in yet."
He said the CGF had now sought the direct intervention of the Indian government so as to provide maximum resources to fix the problems.
"Hopefully that will happen... I was very pleased to hear that the Cabinet Secretary was at the Village himself this morning... He has has taken the matter very seriously, because it is serious."
In his letter to Chandrashekar, Fennell wrote: "The Village is the cornerstone of any Games and the athletes deserve the best possible environment to prepare for their competition."
Organising Committee vice-chairman Randhir Singh admitted that there are certain issues to be addressed.
"There were some towers in the Village that were dirtied by labourers working there. Twenty-four hours is a long time and we will see to it that everything is in place before the athletes arrive. Everyone has appreciated the Village," he said.
New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) president Mike Stanley and secretary-general Barry Maister left for New Delhi Tuesday.
Stanley said New Zealand was working with five other nations - England, Scotland, Wales, Canada and Australia - to assess the preparations for the Games. He said the group had voiced their concerns "at the highest possible level".
The Village has 1,168 apartments - 4,000 bedrooms - spread across 34 towers, with four million square feet of constructed area. The apartments, ranging from two to five bedroom units (1,400 sq ft to 3,500 sq ft) will house more than 7,000 athletes and officials.